HomeSexual responseDifferencesThe penis is an external organ but the clitoris is internal

The penis is an external organ but the clitoris is internal

The clitoris is the equivalent organ to the penis. They both develop from the genital tubercle in the foetus. The suggestion is that the two organs respond identically in the same scenarios (masturbation, intercourse and oral sex). Yet the penis is always stimulated directly. The clitoral organ is supposedly prodded through the walls of the vagina during intercourse or the glans is pulled by the thrusting penis. Equally, cunnilingus involves oral stimulation of the glans. How easily would a man orgasm, if his penis could only be stimulated in the same ways? No one seems to notice these very significant differences in the kinds of stimulation that are possible.

Imagine taking an erect penis and putting it inside a woman’s body. First, the muscles that maintain an erection disappear. The clitoris has no equivalent muscles. It is only ever tumescent (never rigid). Second, you put this slightly swollen penis inside a woman’s body so that only the glans (which is tiny) is visible externally. Then, as a man, you offer foreplay by sucking on the tiny glans before you offer to thump your penis against the sides of the vagina in the hope of stimulating the clitoral organ through the walls of the vagina while simultaneously pulling the glans as you thrust. Do men really think that this anatomical arrangement would equate to their own?

The penis is an external organ. It has muscles that trap the blood to create an erection, which is what makes the penis so sensitive. The clitoris is an internal organ, that is only ever tumescent (not erect like the penis). Researchers and educators appear to be unaware of the significance of these key differences. [i] Most women have no awareness of their clitoris or any tumescence. In middle age, I have been able to observe my own physical arousal by feeling the firmness either side of my labia majora. But there is no accompanying mental arousal or sense of sexual pleasure involved.

Some sex educators continue to promote the clitoris. But surely, if the clitoris gave women so much pleasure, they would not need to be told about it? Research indicates that women achieve orgasm most reliably alone. Many of these women also claim to orgasm with a lover. But women cannot orgasm from intercourse because stimulation does not continue to orgasm. Equally, if women could orgasm through (oral or manual) stimulation of the clitoral glans with a lover, they would have no reason to engage in intercourse. This calls into question the orgasms women claim to have from masturbation. If women could masturbate to orgasm, they would know that orgasm does not occur with a lover. If women’s masturbation techniques worked with a lover, men would know how women orgasm too.

[i] In short, the only real difference between men’s and women’s erections is that men’s are on the outside of their bodies, while women’s are on the inside. (Shere Hite)

Excerpt from ‘Understanding Sexual Response’ (to be published 2021)


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